Ten managers have come and none have succeeded in securing a 10th European Cup for Real Madrid since Zinedine Zidane won them the title in 2002. In the 12 years since Madrid have not even come close, yet a draw at Bayern Munich on Tuesday night would be enough for Carlo Ancelotti to lead the club into the final for the first time since that memorable night in Glasgow.
A decade or more of European malcontent has brewed at the Bernabéu. Thwarted three times in the Champions League semi-finals under José Mourinho, and once in the last four when Vicente del Bosque was at the helm, Madrid were knocked out of the competition in the round of 16 six years in succession between 2005 and 2010, Frustration compounded a volatile period when coaches came and went for the most part at the whim of a president who craved immediate results.
Del Bosque was sacked in the summer of 2003 just hours after masterminding a 29th La Liga title for Madrid, in an upstairs room of a hotel where his players were having a celebratory dinner. If that was ruthless, Jupp Heynckes was relieved of his duties days after delivering Madrid's seventh European crown in 1998.
Blink and you would have missed some. Carlos Queiroz, Fabio Capello, Vanderlei Luxemburgo and Manuel Pellegrini all lasted one season; others were not so lucky. José Antonio Camacho's second spell in charge spanned 115 days, a marked improvement on his first in 1998 that ended after three weeks and without a single match having been played.
Ancelotti has an excellent opportunity to move closer to ending the barren spell in Munich, although an old adversary of Real will have a major say before Madridistas can start booking tickets to Lisbon.
Much has been made of Pep Guardiola's first season in Germany, a campaign that has provided an imperious domestic title win and a switch in style to a more possession-based approach. Bayern trail Madrid after Karim Benzema's goal at the Bernabéu last week and Ancelotti believes that the second leg could play out in a similar fashion to the first, when Madrid sought to exploit opportunities on the counterattack.
"I don't think the tactics will change much," he said. "I don't think Bayern will be changing their tactics and we don't really need to do anything different." Ancelotti denied he had been approached by Manchester United about the managerial position at Old Trafford. "I am happy here, I would like to stay here a long time."
If so, then avoiding defeat in Munich and pipping Atlético to the Spanish title may be necessities, rather than luxuries. Time in the job at Real is rare yet the Italian has credit to his name after the victory over Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final.
Gareth Bale, who scored a wonderful winner in that game, is set to play on Tuesday, along with Cristiano Ronaldo, despite missing Saturday's 4-0 win over Osasuna through illness. "I'm very happy because this season he has been really good," Ancelotti said of Bale. "Everyone is sure next season he will be better.
"But we're not in the final yet; we have to work very hard to get there. We weren't really that happy with the beginning of the match [first leg], we started in quite a timid way and to do that again would be very dangerous.
"These are two teams with different philosophies. Our players need space to move and we need to move the ball very quickly. Football is great for that reason, everyone has a different idea about how it should be played.
"I believe it's better to play fast, attacking football. We have to attack with our defenders."
Bale said: "When you come here you realise the expectations of everybody. No matter what competition we're in, we want to win it. Everybody feels a bit of nerves when it's such a big game, but it's positive nerves."
For Bayern, the task is ominous. No side have successfully defended the Champions League and only three teams have reached the final the season after winning it: Milan in 1995, Juventus in 1997 and Manchester United in 2009.
Guardiola is still on for a remarkable five trophies this season and has called on Franck Ribéry to play a key role, hoping the Frenchman can "play angry" as he did in the 5-2 victory over Werder Bremen on Saturday.
Madrid, though, are just one step from another final flourish.